Bucket List: One Island You Must Visit on the Coastal South

Just past the mouth of the Savannah River, within sight of the Tybee Island Lighthouse but miles away from the real world, lies the near-mythical island of Daufuskie.

Here, time works differently. You can travel the whole of the island, five miles across and 10 miles long, by golf cart and find something new every time you visit. Rich in history and buzzing with a uniquely laid-back vibe all its own, Daufuskie begs to be explored and experienced like few places on earth.

Start your trip by meandering up the Harbor River, which snakes along the mainland side of the island. You can pull your boat pretty much right up to the famed Marshside Mama’s for a cocktail, but if you’re really going to make a day of it you’ll want to keep going up the river until you hit Freeport Marina.

Here, ample slip space lets you get off the boat and into a cool drink and a hot meal at the Old Daufuskie Crab Co. (PROTIP: Try Daufuskie’s famed deviled crab. You may thank us later). The wide circular outdoor bar beneath its thatched Tiki roof is a great introduction to the Daufuskie way of life.

From there, check out the general store, then pop around back to watch the marsh tackies galloping in their pens. This rare breed of horse (some estimates place the total number in existence at around 275)  is uniquely adapted to the Lowcountry, and Daufuskie is one of the few places you can still see them.

Then, it’s time to hop on a golf cart. You have places to go.

Take the Haig Point Road, which used to run in a straight line across the whole of the island until the resorts came in and moved it, and you can make a pit stop at the Daufuskie Island Rum Company (tours are available Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

From there, the street names will show you where to go. Turn down Church St. to see the historic First Union Baptist Church. Around the back you can peek in on a replica of the praise house, the simple one-room church where Daufuskie’s freed slaves worshipped, that sat on that spot.

Replica of the praise house, the simple one-room church where Daufuskie’s freed slaves worshipped, that sat on that spot.

The church actually lies on School Road, which will take you by the Mary Fields School House where Pat Conroy once taught. His experience there informed his classic novel “The Water is Wide.”

From there, you can take Beach Road to, you guessed it, the beach. But before you get there, pop in on the Silver Dew Winery, located on the site of the Bloody Point Lighthouse museum. The winery itself is located entirely within a small one-room shed that used to serve as fuel storage for the lighthouse tower. The nearby museum used to be the front range light for the lighthouse, but was moved partway to its current location by a hurricane in 1893, then the rest of the way by oxen shortly after.

It’s a great place to check out artifacts, and it’s also super haunted. Just a heads up; don’t disturb the spirits.

From there, point your golf cart back down Beach Road, and spend a few minutes with your toes in the sand. Then hop back in and explore – for all its small size, Daufuskie offers so much more to see and experience. But the beauty is in the discovery, so we’ll leave that much to you and your golf cart.

For more about the greatest places to travel in the south, subscribe now or pick up the February/March issue of South Magazine.